The Bruins hosted the Devils tonight in the 2nd game of a pair against NJ. After coasting through a shutout loss on Sunday, the hope was that the Bruins would have some fire and energy for this tilt. They did, but it didn’t show up until early in the 3rd as the B’s crawled out of a 4-2 hole to get the 5-4 W in the shootout.
Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand were both back in the lineup tonight. Marchy from NHL COVID protocol and Carlo finally recovered from his concussion, sorry “upper body injury” that kept him out for the last 10 games. The top 2 lines remained the same with Halak back in net. Coyle centered Bjork and Senshyn on the 3rd, and the 4th line was Kuhlman and Blidh on the wings with Frederic at the pivot.
NJ jumped out early as Lauzon couldn’t clear the puck and Wood put the Devils up with a wrister under Halak’s glove from the slot. The Bruins got right back into the game as Krecji found Ritchie against the grain out high on the right wing. Ritchie put a wrister on net that broke off Blackwood’s glove and the game was tied up. It only took the Bruins 16 periods this season to score an even strength goal against NJ. In case you can’t do that math for yourself that’s over 5 games worth of time. The tie was shortlived however, as McLeod blew past Grzelcyk (not something that many people in the NHL can do) and walked Halak to put the Devils back up. Halak came up huge with a big save at the 18 minute mark on Palmieri to keep the score close heading into the first intermission.
For the 2nd game in a row, Krecji had a goal waived off for goaltender interference. I’m not going to get into last game’s “cough-cough officiating” but at least tonight’s call actually resembled interference. Zajac put the Devils up by 2 when he got his stick on a point shot and redirected it by Halak. Clifton did half the job down low as he blocked out Zajac, but he didn’t tie up his stick so Zajac was able to get his blade on the shot: 3-1 Devils. Late in the middle period Marchy took it upon himself to get the boys going by dropping his gloves with Bratt behind the net. Low key chirp by the on ice officials as they called it roughing and not fighting even though they each dropped the mitts and threw punches. During the 4 on 4 play NJ was called for slashing and the B’s went on an abbreviated 4 on 3 power play. Once Marchy came out of the box, Bergy found him in the high slot where he put a wicked wrister over Blackwood’s blocker to pull the B’s back within one. Less than 90 seconds later, Palmieri put the Devils back up by 2 as he was gifted the puck in the slot by Lauzon and put it under Halak’s glove. Devils back up by 2 going into the intermission. As a B’s fan let me ask you this: who is more of a pain in the ass this year: Palmieri or Pageau of the Islanders? Both are killing the Bruins this season.
Who says coaching doesn’t matter? Butchie flopped Pasta and Smith to open the 3rd and it paid off almost immediately. You could see the Bruins begin to push the pace and be much harder on the puck and they were playing more physically. Marchand went down the RW wall and found Smith who had rotated back up to the point in coverage. Smitty gathered the puck and put it on net; he didn’t try to stickhandle around anyone, he didn’t try to drag it between 3 defenders, he just got it and shot it. Rebound goes right to McAvoy driving the net at the LW circle and just like that the B’s got some jump and they’re in this. Late in the period Krecji won a faceoff down low in the NJ end and Smitty dug the puck out to Grz at the point. Again, no dicking around with the puck, he put it on net and beat Blackwood through a screen. Tie game. In overtime, the Bruins had the zone advantage and the better opportunities until a breakdown sent Severson in a step ahead of the Bruins defense. McAvoy with the effort but couldn’t reach him and took a slashing penalty to put the B’s on the PK for the OT period. They killed off the penalty and headed to the shootout.
In the shootout, Halak was money and the Bruins took care of business.
Then Pasta to ice it:
Up next a pair against the Pens.
- Charlie Coyle is playing great. Forgot to mention the other night when Marchand was out, the Bruins had him wearing the A, big honor for the local kid. He’s out there with the young guys and he doesn’t miss a beat and is actually bringing their game along. Every time they’re on the bench after a shift he’s talking to one of his wingers. Good to see him get the SOG tonight. He’s earned it.
- Halak played well despite letting in 4 goals. On all but 1 goal he had no chance and he kept them in the game when the Bruins played passively.
- Marchand getting the boys going. Arguably one of the top 15 forwards in the league and he’s doing all he can to get the boys jumping. Gotta love it.
- Bad turnovers and carelessness with the puck cost the Bruins at least 2 goals tonight
- No speed coming out of their own end, even though it was “the focus” that everyone was talking about pregame. No speed through the neutral zone and no entry into NJ’s zone with possession. No cycle game to speak of either.
- Pastrnak: I know he’s an all world talent, but he has to be better with the puck and his decision making. He’s a turnover machine. There’s a reason that Cassidy swapped him down from the Bergeron line. He never seems to make the simple play. I get that is part of what makes him so special, his ability to see the other play, his ability to pull the incredible move, but when it doesn’t work, he goes into glide mode and coughs up the puck. Watch him during the game, he turns over the puck an unbelievable amount of the time. Clearly he is sublimely talented and the best offensive player in Boston since Marc Savard? Adam Oates? but he’s got to simplify his game if the circus moves aren’t working.
- Good to see the NWHL Boston Pride at tonight’s game. The Isobel Cup winners were on hand to watch the B’s from a luxury box and they brought the hardware! Congrats ladies.